Neighborhood opposes Ridgewood rezoning
Plans to rezone a former day care center at the corner of Ridgewood Road and Sheffield Drive has sparked debate among Northsiders.
Brad Reeves is asking the city to rezone the former Wee Care child center, from special use (SUD) to C-1A restricted commercial.
Reeves said he plans to restore the buildings, two single-family homes, and use them for low-density commercial activities, such as real estate closings.
“Let’s clean it up, make it an office and we’ll have a nice shared office space,” he said.
Residents in the Sheffield area, though, don’t want to see the properties rezoned, because it would open the door for other nearby sites to be rezoned commercial.
“What it would do is put a commercial property on a completely residential street,” said Ashley Ogden, president of the Sheffield Area Homeowners Association.
“If one residential house on Ridgewood becomes a barber shop, a checks for cash place, a beauty salon, or a (real estate agent’s) office, then all of the homes would be subject to the same alteration,” he said. “Then, you would have the destruction of the original plan for the neighborhood, which is to make sure it remained a strong R-1A use.”
Ogden was quick to point out that this is not a personal attack on Reeves. “I applaud Brad Reeves’ efforts to help improve Jackson,” he said. “I myself, as a homeowners association president … am concerned about saving Jackson.”
The homes sit at 4909 Ridgewood and 1538 Sheffield, across from Jackson Academy. They were previously used as a child care center. However, the facilities have been vacant for several years and have started falling into disrepair.
The properties are owned by Community Trust Bank, in care of Randy Impson, of West Monroe, La., according to the Hinds County tax assessor’s Web site.
Reeves filed a request for rezoning March 6.
He argues C-1A is a “restricted commercial zone,” and would mean that structures themselves could not be torn down or changed and that the character of the neighborhoods would remain intact.
“I am a graduate of Jackson Academy. I have one daughter there now and my son will go there. I looked at the property six months ago, and said, ‘Somebody has to do something with it.’ ”
Uses allowed under C-1A include professional offices, bed and breakfasts, art museums, galleries, studios and specialty retail shops, personal and commercial services, and multi-family dwellings of up to eight units, city code states.
Other items allowed under the zoning classification with a use permit are commercial banks, savings institutions and credit unions, adult and child care centers, neighborhood restaurants and wholesale dealers.
SUD uses include hospitals, country clubs, public and private schools, government offices, churches, synagogues and other places of worship, mobile food vendors, and radio and television stations, according to city code. Uses allowed with permits include animal shelters, commercial communication towers and community recreational centers.
Reeves envisions the properties being used for real estate closings or as offices for freelance workers. “Like if I do closings there and have an event (at JA), I would walk across the street,” he said. “That’s what I was thinking.”
He has reached out to Ogden to see if the two can find some common ground, and is willing to push back when the request will go before the Jackson’s planning commission.
The measure is supposed to go before the board at its April 26 meeting, the city’s Web site states.
Sheffield will support no rezoning efforts, Ogden said. The neighborhood has about 300 residents. He said other homeowners groups have also come on board in opposition, including Eastover, Heatherwood, Fontaine Place and Briarwood Terrace.
“It’s a domino effect,” he said. “When one (property) is turned into a commercial property, what’s stopping someone else from doing it?”
The planning board meeting is slated for 1:30 p.m., on Wednesday, April 26, on the first floor of the Warren Hood Building in downtown Jackson.